Behind the Labels – Bohemian Diesel Marketplace
A pretty special jewelry label hit our marketplace last week, and I’m very excited to introduce it to you now.
Ouroboros Designs is handcrafted artisan jewelry made by owner & designer Tara Klingenstein-Meyer in her studio in sunny southern California.
“The style, we like to say, is easy everyday kinda stuff that looks great with everything from a rock tee and jeans to a flouncy dress.”
Oh we are so so in love with her amazing designs! Scroll on for the interview we did with Tara and to take a peek into her world:
So who are you and where do you call home?
I’m Tara Klingenstein-Meyer the owner, designer, and head metalsmith behind the brand Ouroboros Designs.
I currently live in Southern California about a half-hour north of Hollywood with my husband and 2 fur children.
Tell us about Ouroboros Designs.
My background is in the fashion industry and I decided in 2010 I wanted to go to jewelry school to learn metalsmithing so I could take my jewelry making skills to another level and then start my own business in the world of fashion. I founded Ouroboros Designs in early 2011 after finishing school and initially started out working only in sterling silver and gemstones. The price of silver at the time was quite high and the economy not so great. People weren’t really indulging in expensive jewelry so I took notice and started playing around with fashion jewelry as appose to bridge jewelry and fine jewelry that have higher price points. After a few years of selling through Etsy, my own website, and local markets I made the decision to get a sales rep and begin growing a wholesale business in addition to my direct selling. I now combine my metalsmithing with fashion elements to bring together the best of both worlds…a jewelry line that is based in artisan design and craftsmanship but also utilizes fashion findings to appeal to the customer that wants their accessories to be current and on trend.
How did you get into jewelry design? do you have a family background?
I’ve been “crafty” for as long as I can remember dating back to being 5 or 6 and taking cross-stitch lessons at the Girls’ Club and learning tin nail art from my mom at home. No one else in my family is involved in jewelry but my parents are both quite artsy in their own right. My mother is an interior decorator and my father worked in visual merchandising. My love for making jewelry grew from a job in college at a bead store where we were taught how to make simple pieces of jewelry from the beads customers purchased in a “while you wait” type situation. Eventually I wanted to know more than how to wire wrap so that’s when I got the bright idea to find a jewelry school and learn metalsmithing.
What was the first piece of jewelry you ever made?
Going back to the job at the bead store, I guess technically my first piece of jewelry would have been a single strand beaded necklace. Later when I started jewelry school the first thing they teach you is a simple band ring. The first piece of metalsmithed jewelry I made once I was out of school and on my own was a freeform druzy cabochon necklace set in a sterling silver hand-made bezel on 3.9mm silver rolo chain. I still have that one today 😉
What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created?
OH DEAR, that’s like choosing a favorite child!!! I think that answer changes with each year that I move forward and evolve. One of my top favorites for sure (that has turned out to also be a best sellers) is a shell and hand-crafted pendant necklace. Free People (the retailer) ended up loving the style too and also sold a version of it on their website and in stores last summer.
What kind of woman wears your jewelry?
The age and style of women I sell to really runs the gamut but the majority of women wearing my jewelry range in age from 20-something to a very cool, youthful, and trendy woman in her 50s or 60s. Both my mother and mother-in-law where my stuff and are always happy when I give them more! My general aesthetic definitely leans toward the bohemian side but a lot of my pieces can be worked in to more classic and sophisticated ensembles too. If I had to give you a visual for my customer I always picture the sort of stereotypical southern California woman wearing Ouroboros Designs.
What’s your favorite part of jewelry making/designing?
The feeling I get when a customer or person I’ve gifted my work to tells me that they love their jewelry and it’s exactly what they wanted. Nothing can replace how fantastic it feels to make someone else happy in that way.
In what do you believe?
EVERYTHING happens for a reason!
The moments that defined you…
The moments that define you aren’t the highs but how you push through and come out on the other side of the lows. Having your own business presents numerous challenges and obstacles and giving in to the tough times in life in general would be easy but I’d never forgive myself for that. I always want to be able to look back and be proud of how I handled all the trying moments and B.S. As much as no one enjoys making mistakes or when things get rough I truly believe we learn the very most from those moments and those are the times in life that really shape us the most.
A message for women everywhere…
Life IS tough…you be tougher! Learning to be a “go getter” and a “self starter” will serve you well in this world. Don’t wait around for anyone to do anything for you. Every successful woman I know made it happen for herself because she wanted it bad enough. Be that way and you’ll get far in this world. That’s what turns a dream into reality!
What are your future plans? do you have a dream project?
My artsy craftsy juices are nearly always overflowing so I’ve recently started to brainstorm about ways of expanding Ouroboros Designs. The first idea I’m working on is getting into boho home goods a bit. Ideally it will end up being a mix of curated items I find and love along with pieces made under the Ouroboros Designs label. Think decorated taxidermy (faux and real), unique candles, textiles like blankets and pillows, etc. etc. I’m enjoying the new project so far. I ALWAYS want to be making something but sometimes I get the urge to make things other than jewelry so this fits the bill! As for the long term, I LOVE wedding jewelry and wedding dresses so I have a dream plan in my head to go into bridal specialties some time in the future.
Thank you soooo much Tara for telling us a bit more about yourself and Ouroboros Designs and for being part of Bohemian Diesel Marketplace!